Ensuring the effectiveness of its work is a high priority for the SDC. It regularly carries out critical assessments of its activities in order to ensure that its programmes achieve the expected results and that resources are being used sustainably.
That is why it is also one of the SDC's tasks to demonstrate that its various projects are carried out properly and to explain the extent to which they have improved the situation of beneficiary population groups. In order to demonstrate the projects' effectiveness and to find out why some have a greater impact than others, measuring effectiveness is an integral part of the SDC's and its partners' work. The aim is show both the short- and the long-term impact of the projects in question. The term 'impact' is used to refer to concrete changes brought about by individual projects. These concrete changes provide information about the effectiveness of the SDC's development cooperation work.
The SDC focuses its activities and investments on results and effectiveness. It publishes an annual report on effectiveness in a specific area (employment in 2016, health in 2015 and climate in 2014). Over 100 projects are evaluated every year by independent external consultants.
Development cooperation focuses mainly on the causes of poverty. It therefore also aims to bring about structural changes and seeks to improve democratic processes and compliance with rule-of-law principles. It is difficult to quantify progress at national and international level. It is easier to measure the effectiveness of local projects, as these produce quantifiable goods and outputs.
But even in local projects, development cooperation does not take place in laboratory conditions but rather in dynamic environments characterised by diverse social, political and economic variables that influence results. This makes it difficult, though not impossible, to assess the effectiveness of cooperation programmes. How projects are run is a key factor in determining whether they can subsequently be assessed. Sound planning and professional monitoring and support are essential.